Tuesday, December 16, 2014

She works hard for the money


I swear we were just bringing this tiny, 6 ½ pound little bundle home from the hospital.

 

Today Dalton is 12 weeks old, and this marks the last week of my 12 week maternity leave.
 
12 weeks makes a big difference in size!
 
 
Hey, Obama - the free breast pump was great and all, and much appreciated, but how about some decent maternity leave so I don’t have to leave my baby when he’s still practically a fetus and then I wouldn’t need to rely on a pump? Although I recognize I’m more fortunate than many women. I was allowed to use 6 weeks of my accumulated sick time to get paid, and then I even got two extra weeks on top of that because I was lucky enough to need a c-section. The rest was unpaid, even though I have more than enough sick time to cover it.

 
I’m not thrilled about going back to work. However, I no longer dread it and would rather have another root canal, which is a huge improvement for me. I was able to type that without crying. I’m able to see some positives. I went in last week to visit, and it was really fun. I work with a lot of great people and I’m looking forward to seeing them every day again. I never really thought I would say this, but I’m even looking forward to using my brain again. And, of course, I’m home right now but Dalton is sleeping, so it’s not like I would get to spend every single second of my time with him even if I could be a SAHM. For the record, I really, really would give anything to do that, but that doesn’t pay the bills.

I’m glad I have a job I enjoy, and I truly do miss my students and am excited to see them again, it’s just the whole leaving my baby thing that isn’t working for me. It’s weird because when I was pregnant, I was sure I wasn’t qualified to care for an infant. I couldn’t even believe they let me leave the hospital with him. But now I feel like, aside from his father, no one else can possibly care for him. I know this is illogical. We have a wonderful daycare provider that we love. She’s been doing daycare for 25 years (mostly staying with kids from infancy to kindergarten) and has two grown, successful children of her own. In a contest, her experience clearly trumps mine by quite a bit and I know he will be fine. But I still don’t want to turn him over. I’m his mother, and no one is going to love him like I do.


He's old enough to wear a baby belt!




Thinking about how much I am going to miss him breaks my heart. I keep trying to remind myself it’s not like he’s going away to boarding school, I’ll see him every day and we still have many fun times together ahead. Millions of women and babies have done this and survived. It still sucks. I want to be with my baby. I’ve warned everyone I will be spending the first few days back crying at least 70% of the time.

 
Aside from the emotional component, logistically work is going to be a real pain in the ass. It’s one thing to wake up 4-5 times a night with a baby when you don’t have anywhere to be in the morning. I can get three hours of broken sleep and still change a diaper like a pro. I’m not sure I can say the same about staying on top of the education for 50 ten year olds or attending meetings to speak about data and curriculum and attempt to sound intelligent. And dealing with the pumping, bottles, sending stuff to daycare – just mathematically it sounds so complicated. But I know it will work out, and one way or another this kid will get fed. I’ll most likely be exhausted, but that’s why God invented coffee.

 
The timing is nice, I get to ease in with just two days of work and then a nice long Christmas break that the three of us get to spend together. Tomorrow, Dalton and I are going in to attend my team’s planning meeting to get ready. I’m looking forward to it! See, if I could just take him with me, I’d be perfectly fine.

 
We’re soaking in every glorious moment of this last week together full time. Yesterday we met Carolyn and Nathan for a stroller walk in a park, since it was 50 degrees and sunny a week before Christmas.
 
 
We have some other fun plans with friends and I’m just getting all the snuggle time on the couch that I can.


Love that little face so much.

 
Any advice for a soon - to - be working mom?
 

 

Monday, December 15, 2014

How I knew I was "ready" for a baby

 
I occasionally write things not meant to be posted on the internet. Shocking, I know. I was looking back through some of my musings and found what I’d written one year ago today, December 15, 2013. It was a profanity filled, angry document on my frustration of another cycle ending without a pregnancy. Just one month later, on January 15th, I finally got that coveted positive test, but of course I had no way of knowing how close we were to finally conceiving, or if we ever would. Crossing that month off the calendar seemed especially noteworthy because it marked a full year of trying, and yet I’d be having that glass of wine as a consolation prize yet again.
 
This was the prize I really wanted.
 
 
Before I got there myself, I was also fascinated to hear from people how they decided they were ready to have a baby. I know, I know, no one is ever really ready, but most couples at some point decide “ok, let’s do this”. I decided to share how I got to that point, and I felt today was a fitting time for that topic.
 
I’ve gotten some pretty shocked reactions from people upon finding out that Eric and I were married for 6 years before the birth of our first child. I always find that surprising for two reasons. First, I thought it was a given that people knew that fertility and pregnancy could potentially be very painful topics for a woman, so you never comment on the timing of having children. Second, it never seemed weird to me! I know the rhyme goes “First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes _____ with the baby carriage”. Some people can’t get that baby carriage fast enough after saying “I do”, some people switch the order around entirely, and then other people, like me, couldn’t even imagine trading in the wedding dress for spitup rags and diapers. 

How was he ever SO TINY?


 
While I was completely out of my mind baby crazy in December 2013, I was feeling much more hesitant in December 2012. A year before that the thought of being pregnant was positively sickening. Eric and I both always knew we wanted to have children. But when we got married, we were still living downtown, going out all the time, and generally still living the wild early 20s life.
Actually from just a year and a half ago but it illustrates the point.
 
A year in to our marriage, we moved out to the suburbs. I was still in no way ready to start a family. I was way too selfish. I don’t mean that as a self-deprecating remark about a character flaw, I mean it as a lifestyle choice. This was the time I got really into running and racing. Obviously, you can do those things as a mom, which tons of people prove every day. But it takes devotion, planning, and sacrifice. I didn’t feel like doing any of those things. I wanted to be able to do my 20 mile training run when I felt like it, after a good night’s sleep, and without negotiating childcare with my husband.
 
Way back when I could run far.
 
 
We also had a lifestyle that we really liked. We could hop in the car to visit friends out of state at a moment’s notice. We could go out downtown, have a wild night, and crash on a friend’s floor. We could save up some extra money and take a trip together.
 
We could declare a Saturday a movie day and not get off the couch until Sunday. Although I didn’t get it quite the way I do now, I knew kids required a lot of time, effort, and money, and I was comfortable with where we were currently diverting these resources. In short, I liked doing what I wanted, when I wanted.
 
That’s a lot about why we had so many years when we weren’t ready. As I hit my late 20s, I started to think about it more seriously. Not really because I felt differently, more because the clock was ticking, and people sure love to remind you of that. Friends I’d gone to high school and college with were starting their families. I knew the days of setting the idea aside as “eh, someday, when we’re ready” were done. But still, every time I started to truly consider it, I would still feel like I had to accomplish one more goal before it could happen. A 50 miler. A marathon PR. A triathlon. There was always some reason to put it off.
I didn't appreciate the joy of dressing our baby in funny costumes for our own amusement.
 
All these athletic goals were my reasons for waiting, and they were also what let me know it was go time. Before, it had always seemed there was time for children….someday, but I needed to do this race NOW. All of the sudden I decided there was time to complete an ironman or a 100 miler someday, but I needed a baby – NOW. All the things that before seemed like obstacles (being in grad school, lack of space, etc) now just seemed like things we would need to work around. Sleeping on someone’s floor just to have a night out at the bars sounded less appealing than dental work. Staying in and enjoying some family time sounded so much better, especially with a snuggly cute little family member.
 
Now our Saturday nights include bath and book time.
 
I still loved my sleep and never really relished the thought of giving it up – but you gotta take the good with the bad. Supposedly I’ll sleep again someday. That’s what they tell me.
The moment sleep ended for me.
 
I knew I’d potentially be giving up a lot – racing (at least temporarily, and I can’t really imagine going back to it right now), traveling, date nights, lazy days. Except it suddenly didn’t feel like I was giving these things up, instead like I would be trading them for a much better prize. Before, I noticed diapers and exhaustion when hanging out with mom friends, now I noticed how the sight of mom lit up baby’s eyes. Before, I had never been a baby person at all, if anything, the thought of holding a baby was slightly frightening. All of the sudden, I couldn’t get enough.
 
This started seeming appealing.
The Cliff’s notes of this is that first I was scared of babies and wanted to be lazy anytime I wanted, then the switch flipped and I wanted my own baby, like, yesterday, screw grown up fun. If I’d waited until I was ready to give up sleep I would never have a kid.
 
Worth all the sleepless nights times infinity.

 

 

Thursday, December 11, 2014

The masked man

 

It's been a week.


Feel free to come over and fold that clean laundry piled on the couch and don't speak to me while you do so.

 
This makes it look way more dramatic than it was. Eric just got really sick and couldn't go near Dalton. He stayed quarantined in our bedroom, basically shivering and hacking and sleeping like the dead. I had a ton of respect for single moms before, then even more as a mom, and now even more. I don't think I could do it. And I wasn't even actually alone! When Eric was awake, he could at least yell out suggestions like a coach from the sidelines if I was having a tough time.

No one can say he wasn't committed.
Truthfully, even before that, I was having a bit of a hormone attack again. Friday was one of those days and Eric had to work late. When they say it takes a village to raise a child, I'm pretty sure that village's job is keeping the mother sane, at least for the first few months. I had two of my wonderful friends drop everything just to come over and sit around to cheer me up, and it was a major lifesaver. Texts, emails, phone calls and even Facebook comments from my mom, sister, and other friends play a huge part too. Even if I don't believe it in the moment, just hearing someone say that I am a good mom or that it will be ok makes a big difference.

I have a pretty awesome role model. This arrived from my own mom to brighten my day.

Well, the flowers, I provided the baby.
My problem, currently, is just the crushing weight of responsibility. Dalton was up every hour the other night. Yeah, I wanted sleep, but I felt calm and it didn't excessively upset me, he's a baby. I just feel like he's the best, and he deserves the best, and it's scary trying to commit to a lifetime of being the best. I know no parent can be perfect, but it's hard to resist the temptation to want that for your child, and to feel like you're coming up woefully short because it's just all so new.
 

We call this driving his imaginary motorcycle.

That escalated quickly. Let's talk about fun stuff. Christmas is in two weeks. Holy crap. I know everyone is saying this all the time, but seriously November passed in the blink of an eye. I have a big to do list of random gifts to order and stuff and let's just say I'm not nailing it. I finally ordered our stockings today so they will barely make it in time for Christmas. I am doing an excellent job listening to Christmas music a minimum of 13 hours a day and eating cookies.
 
And dressing Dalton in seasonally appropriate outfits
 
 My BFF Carolyn and I kept it rolling and went to another Christmas themed event last weekend.
 

As you can tell from this picture, we clearly did this solely for the benefit of the children.

It was pouring rain, so Eric zipped Dalton into his jacket and got to try out the wonderful world of pregnancy.


In between diaper changes and feedings, we listened to some live Christmas music and most importantly, tried fried cheesecake.



Prepare yourself for cuteness overload.


Baby BFFs.

One other exciting thing last weekend, besides a delicious Sunday breakfast of Costco samples, was a postpartum running PDR (personal distance record). 5 miles. Once upon a time, I would look at a 5 mile run on a training plan and be all like "sweet, an easy day, I can sleep in!". Now I looked at it more like I used to view a 20 mile run. But I made it, and while slow, I took no walk breaks and fit it in during just one Game of Thrones episode. I know some #motherrunners bounce back much faster, but at 10 weeks postpartum, that was a huge accomplishment for me. Haven't done it since then, but I have high hopes. I remember when I used to like running outside. I really underestimated how much I like watching TV while exercising.


Where are you on the holiday preparedness scale? 10 is "I do all my shopping in August" and by the way I hate you,  1 is "thank freaking god for Amazon prime".

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Night is dark and full of terrors


This post is really delving deep into mommy blogger territory. To be honest, I said I never wanted to be one of those people that talked ad naseum about their baby but secretly I suspected that was how things would shake out. I don't want to continue this path indefinitely, but in the early days, when I'm home with him 24/7 and just trying to navigate this unfamiliar territory and make it to Oregon without dying of dysentery, it's all I've got. Someday I hope to have thoughts to share about something other than rock and plays and dream feeds and diaper duty.

So over that noise.

While I was having lunch with my dad and Dalton at Wegmans last week, a woman wearing an ugly Christmas sweater for real, not to be funny at a party, approached us. I've learned that having a baby means you need to be prepared to talk to a lot of strangers. She strongly encouraged us to create and stick to a schedule for the baby, claiming "research" as a reason.

Since I do take all my child rearing advice from strangers in grocery stores, I implemented the schedule immediately. The problem was Dalton refused to follow it. I scheduled him for sleep from 9-6am, and at 1am, he was still ignoring it. I had it laminated with cute little clipart, and even sent him an outlook reminder. Nothing but defiance on his end.

I can't tell if my sarcasm is evident, so just to clarify, we never tried to put a newborn on a schedule. However,  routine is just an order of events, not setting specific times for things, so that was reasonable, right? Wrong. For some reason, since giving birth, I've found the idea of a bedtime routine terrifying. Everyone was doing it, everyone had thoughts about it, and I would break out into a cold sweat when people spoke of it.

As a creature of habit, I've managed to embrace the completely unstructured days of life with a newborn. I remember when my naïve pregnant self thought exercise would be as simple as running while the baby sleeps. That was before I knew some days meant 3 hours of soothing to get a 20 minute nap. Then yesterday I plopped him down drowsy and ran for an entire Game of Thrones episode without a peep. I broke the cardinal rule of baby sleep and told one person about that and had the night from hell where he woke up every 15 - 20 min.

Then just fell asleep after eating. Being up all night is exhausting.

Nothing is predictable. He eats and sleeps at entirely different times every day. I just stare at him constantly trying to notice the first little signs of hungry or sleepiness and go with it.

I think for that reason, the idea of attempting any sort of semblance of a routine sounded like madness. But I have a new sleep book now, and I like it, but it said my goal for this month is a simple bedtime routine. And I'll be back at work soon, and then we will at least need a morning routine to get us out the door. So that seemed as good a reason as any to tackle my fear.

No relevance but this was one of the first times he rolled over and didn't get mad about it.

I was still scared though. I just didn't know what time to do it. Some nights he's exhausted at 8pm, and some nights he sleeps from 7-9pm. There's just no way to know! Finally, I realized the bedtime routine police weren't going to come arrest me if we did it at 7:30 one night and 9 the next. We could just try something, and if it didn't work, we could change it. Revolutionary stuff. I think part of what makes parenting so hard is that you're so sleep deprived that you overlook really obvious solutions to things that are not even problems.

We went for it. It's been like 3 or 4 nights now. Those are really small numbers so I should be able to figure out which it is. But I can't. Because last night was not the best. I'm not blaming the routine yet though. Dalton seems to like it. It's pretty simple.

  • Bath
  • Massage (I thought this was BS when I was pregnant but we took a class and now we all love it, I think)
  • Swaddle
  • Try to fit in a super short book but sometimes he's already done
  • Nursing
  • Rock and Play (I realize those are verbs but it actually means put him down in his baby bed), ideally drowsy but awake
Really this kid doesn't know how good he has it. How much would you love to end your night with someone washing you in a warm bath, giving you a soothing olive oil massage, and then rocking you to sleep? I'd be all over that.

So the timing is all over the place, but the important thing to recognize is that I faced my fear and should be commended for my bravery.

And that's the story of the bedtime routine.
To be continued...

When's the last time you faced a fear?

If  that wasn't enough mommy blogger stuff for you, check out my friend Jessy's blog for her post partum survival guide to a vaginal delivery and my guest post today, a post partum survival guide to a c section delivery.
 

 

 

 

 

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Gift for the ladies (or men, if he wants)

I started listening to Christmas music November first, but really, really called upon pure willpower to leave it at that. But once Thanksgiving was over, all bets were off.

Family thanksgiving photo!
 I am a big fan of black Friday shopping, but this year I've already lost enough sleep. Instead, we worked on some new family traditions.

Obviously Dalton is too young to know what's going on, but I was really happy. Last year, I posted in December about how Santa must have lost my Christmas list (due to my need for an emergency root canal). Secretly, all that was on that list was a baby. Starting off this holiday season with that beautiful boy in my arms was a pretty amazing feeling.


The only gift I wanted

We kept the holiday cheer rolling all weekend. Dalton and I had a little mommy/son date with our good friends, Carolyn and Nathan.

The coloring of this picture is so weird because it was taken by an elf.
We went to the festival of trees. It was a surprisingly indoor event where basically Christmas has exploded everywhere.

 
Obviously my cup of tea.

 
In between navigating diaper changes and spit up explosions, the babies napped, and we even picked up some gifts (although I'm still ridiculously behind).

Dalton is clearly the best gift I could hope to receive, but Eric had a close second waiting for me when we got home. He cleaned the fridge and the freezer. Both were spotless and glorious. Cleaning the fridge is my #1 most loathed task ever. Something about the potential for spoiled food. Even when I worked at Starbucks, where there was never spoiled milk, I would always beg to clean the bathrooms rather than the milk fridges at closing. I would literally rather clean toilets used by thousands of strangers than wipe down a fridge. I warned Eric when we moved in together that was one task he had to always do, and he's stepped up to the plate ever since.

We rang in the month of December in the usual way. Another mom/baby date with Katharine and Zoë to take a walk in 65 degree, beautiful sunny weather.

Not the greatest photography but you get the idea.
 
Katharine and I trained together for my first ever marathon back in 2010, and we had our babies exactly two weeks apart! We traded our 20 mile runs for a stroller walk.

Speaking of exercise, I took the entire last week off. In retrospect, that would have been a good time to work out, since I constantly had another adult around to look after Dalton, but what's done is done. Now I'm back on track though. I need to start training. April is coming.

 

 

Last year, I re-watched the entire Game of Thrones series on the treadmill starting in January, and believe me when I say nothing has ever motivated me to exercise quite so nicely. I had big ambitions of doing the same in 2015. But, as always nowadays, it took far too long for the obvious to hit me. I barely fit in three seasons last year, so watching four seasons this year while also trying to be a mom was a fool's errand. So I started Saturday, and I'm already 3 episodes in. I hate new experiences, but repeatedly watching a TV series based on a book series I've already read is heaven on earth. So, no races on the horizon, but this seems like a solid goal.

What's the one TV series you can never get sick of? I have a lot. I think my favorites are The Office and Sex and the City. I had all 9 seasons of The Office ready to watch while I was in labor, but that didn't exactly work out.


 

Monday, December 1, 2014

Dalton's first and second thanksgiving

Well. I don't even know what to say about how much I appreciate the outpouring of support on my last post. I think I cried reading every blog/Facebook comment, but in a good way. It always helps so much to know you are not alone and/or crazy.

I had heard of the baby blues, of course. I just didn't know about this newborn honeymoon period. Once we got home from the hospital and a few weeks passed and I was still flying high, I just figured I was good.

I think, for me, being home with no adult interaction led me to create really overblown worst case scenarios in my head (which I have always been really good at anyway). Like "great, I fed him thinking he was crying because he was hungry but he was actually sleepy and now he's doomed to a life of obesity and insomnia". Then I really need Dalton to chime in and tell me to get ahold of myself, that's ridiculous, just try again next time, and if I misinterpret that cry too, it's still fine. But he can't, because he's a baby, so I just go down the anxiety rabbit hole. I'm going to try to hold on to my sanity by remembering that he's healthy, growing, and has two parents who love him like crazy, so overall he's in pretty good shape and I probably won't screw him up beyond repair, at least not before his first birthday.

This week Dalton and I went on a much, much needed grandparent break!



I didn't know it when I booked the ticket, but as you might have noticed this was not a moment too soon. I felt really guilty about taking Dalton away from Eric. He pretended to be fine, but it was obvious how much Eric missed him. This trip really turned my mental state around though, so I really appreciate his sacrificing some father/son time.

Dalton rang in the old age of two months on his first airplane ride! Naturally, I was a little worried about being that person with the screaming infant that everyone shoots dirty looks at.

Not the case.
He smiled at everyone, then went to sleep.
He was a rockstar, I was a hot mess, as per usual. I walked right into the men's room at the airport, and was about to go into a stall, until I noticed a man giving me an odd look. No excuse. It was clearly marked. The women's room wasn't even next door. I have no idea what is wrong with me.

The main reason I decided to book the trip home to Rochester, NY was because my family always celebrates Thanksgiving early, usually the Sunday before.
Confusing, I know.

I figured I might as well check flight prices while I was on maternity leave, and there was a cheap one, and the pediatrician was all for it.

This is worth the fear of flying with a baby.

I'm really upset that's one of only two pictures I took, because I was actually wearing pants with a zipper and buttons and my friend did my eye makeup to make me not look like I hadn't slept in two months, per my request.
 
Our Fakesgiving is a "the more the merrier" type situation. My college roommate (well, the one I'm still on speaking terms/actually friends with) and her husband came to visit from Syracuse.
 
 
She asked me to be honest about how childbirth was. I told her it sucked and was the most pain I ever felt in my life. She also noted that having a baby was like a diet because I was jumping up from the dinner table practically after every bite. I'm really selling motherhood.

But it's worth it. Because you can dress them up.
The rest of the week we just pretty much laid low and hung out. I loved every second of it.
 

 
I can't stand how cute this cousin love is.
 
 The one sad part was that my motherhood duties didn’t leave me as much time to love on my nephew as I would have liked.


Grandma has the best toys!

I’m pretty sure that will get better over time as Dalton gets more independent, and when Eric is with me it will free me up a little more. Dalton did a good amount of crying when people other than me were holding him. I won’t lie, although I felt bad that people didn’t get to hold him as much as they wanted, I secretly loved it. After 8 weeks of one sided crushing on this kid and him only using him for my boobs, it was nice to see my love being reciprocated a bit.

I had to get him up at 3:30am for our flight home early on (actual) Thanksgiving morning. I feared the worst, but he was smiley as could be as we carried him out during his first snowfall, then fell right asleep and woke up back in Baltimore.

Baby on a plane.
 Eric picked us up from the airport, and as soon as we got home it was time to get cracking on Thanksgiving #2. A group of our friends who don’t have family in the area have been celebrating together for a while.
 
 

I can’t remember how long, but it started with no kids, and we now have a 2 year old and a 2 month old with us, so clearly it’s a fairly longstanding tradition. Eric is the self-appointed turkey fryer, and he takes his duties very seriously. If you’ve never had fried turkey, I will warn you: you won’t be able to go back to roasted. It’s what ended my 16 year streak as a vegetarian (and I now mourn all the delicious meat I could have eaten during that time).

Many foods unpictured.
 

Dalton dressed in his finest. Because he owns that suit and he won’t fit in it soon and he already has like 4 Christmas outfits. And I was not passing up an opportunity for this cuteness.
 
 

He's wearing a little baby tie. I can't stand it.

 
 
Was your thanksgiving glorious and filled with delicious foods worth taking a tiny baby on a plane for, or a super fun time of family drama?

 
 

 

Saturday, November 22, 2014

The attack of the hormones


 

I'm going to be really honest in this post, and try to avoid sarcasm. Cute baby pictures will be included as per usual.

 

For the first six weeks of Dalton's life, I was riding on a wave of euphoria.

I was so happy that nearly 2 years after we decided we were going to try to become parents, I was holding my baby in my arms. I honestly really didn't see what all the fuss was about regarding that horrible, terrible newborn period. I'd began parenthood on nearly 48 hours of no sleep, and then only slept for 90 minutes at a time at the absolute maximum for his first week of life. And I don't even remember feeling that tired! I'm pretty sure I'm more tired now. The “baby blues” were a mystery to me.

He looks like a different baby now! So much bigger!



Nothing really changed at six weeks, babywise, although my husband did go back to work. Dalton is still the cutest most loveable child on earth, and he is behaving exactly as he should. The difference was that I lost my ability to cope. It's not like it had been easy before - like any baby, he was thrust from a nice, cozy, warm home out into the cold, bright, scary world and wasn't always happy with that transition. There were sleepless nights and 2am crying for seemingly no reason. There was all the confusion that one would expect when a tiny person whose only communication option is crying enters your family. But the stress seemed manageable and the joy and love was overpowering.

Someday I will frame his newborn pictures.



At around 6 weeks I felt like the rug got yanked out from under me. First, I was so upset about going back to work and leaving him that I found myself sobbing several times a day. Daily exercise seemed to help with that, and so did a long phone conversation with our daycare provider. Still, I was struggling with crying bouts and despair.


I suddenly felt crushed with the weight of responsibility. Maybe before we were in survival mode, just taking it one diaper at a time, and unable to focus on the big picture . This beautiful, teeny tiny little boy that I love more than anything in this world is 100% dependent on me. He needs me for literally everything, down to making sure his airway is clear to breathe, to food, to even hydration. (Not to minimize what a wonderful father and husband Eric is, but he just can't breastfeed.) The enormity of that really hit me out of nowhere. It’s terrifying. And it’s for life. Sure, you can say it’s for 18 years, but we all know the motherhood switch doesn’t turn off, ever. I’d previously been able to use the “take it one day at a time” approach successfully. But now I started wondering “What if he never stops crying? What if I never sleep again? What if he will never sleep anywhere but on me?”

Who me? Crying?


I hadn’t missed our old lifestyle at all. We were married for six years before Dalton was born. We’d had plenty of date nights, plenty of time spent at bars with friends, plenty of weekend trips just the two of us. I know it’s still possible to do these things, but we don’t have any family in this state to babysit, and we will already be paying a lot of money for childcare while we’re at work. We both knew having a baby meant those times were essentially done, or at least changed for us. We
were excited to begin a new chapter.

Our last photo as a family of two. So beautiful.

I wasn’t pining away for a date night. However, it did strike me around this time that more than just that aspect of my life was forever changed. Sure, I was fine saying goodbye to our favorite bars, but maybe I wasn’t as prepared as I thought I was to give up doing everything on my terms. Like eating. Using the bathroom. Making a phone call.

Of course, with that frustration and fear comes the mom guilt. Why should I be upset? I wanted this baby in my life so badly that I once secretly cried at work after yet another negative pregnancy test while watching a mother kiss her daughter goodbye. I should only ever experience feeling joy, happiness, and love no matter what happens. I still do experience those emotions, all the time, at a greater intensity than I ever could imagine. It’s just that their redheaded stepchild counterparts have now snuck in.

He tried to fight them off for me.


I was also feeling more and more like a parenting failure. The whole time I was pregnant, I constantly heard about how that “skin to skin time” after birth is absolutely crucial. And I truly didn’t feel worried because I had missed out onthat. But just a few short weeks later, all the sudden I was inundated with “drowsy but awake”. I had never even heard of this, although granted I didn’t research infant sleep much, because I held out hope that I’d have one of those magic perfect sleepers. That didn’t pan out, so I had become the stereotypical mom frantically reading baby sleep books and asking everybody and willing to buy anything that would make my baby sleep.

Well, apparently you are supposed to be putting them down to sleep the second they start to look sleepy. Now everyone from the book authors to the pediatrician was angrily pointing their fingers at me demanding to know why I would cuddle with my baby until he slept, and then sometimes even nap on me, or at least that’s how it felt. First it was essential to hold your baby, now it was “what kind of mother are you, holding your baby all the time?”

I just love seeing this squishy face on my chest so much.


On top of all this, or maybe what was causing all this, hormones were bitch slapping me left and right. First I was crying because he wouldn’t sleep anywhere but on us and I couldn’t sleep. Then I was crying because he wouldn’t sleep anywhere but on us and it was all my fault and I had ruined him for life and he would never be able to sleep or be successful in any way. Then I was crying because he wouldn’t let me put him down to sleep. Then I was crying because he would let me put him down to sleep and I missed him and soon he would be crawling, walking, driving, and never want to cuddle with mom again and this was my ONE CHANCE. And now I’m crying just remembering all that crying.

I have a ton of support. I can’t even remember everyone who has reached out to me, listened to me, and told me it gets easier. And logically I know it must. I’ve been teaching elementary school for ten years, so probably 300-400 students, and not one of them has reported sleeping on their parents, or cried for no reason all day, or been unable to function unless someone is holding them in their arms. But, deep down, I don’t really believe any of these people who say it supposedly gets easier.

I don’t really have a point for sharing this, other than to remember my feelings at this point in my life. I thought I was in the clear since I felt fine when we brought him home from the hospital, but hormones are tricky bastards. I think they were just laying low to build their strength and launch their attack when they were at their most powerful.